NRG-5: Enabling Smart Energy as a Service via 5G Mobile Network advances

Engineering leads one of the biggest and most heterogeneous 5G PPP project: NRG-5, which aims at improving and guaranteeing optimal communications of the energy grid, empowering the “last mile” network.

In NRG-5 the Smart Energy as a Service concept will stress 5G current results and co-develop a new 5G communication infrastructure focusing mainly in the areas of security, privacy, trust and high availability.

Despite a number of software frameworks and reference architectures have been made available for 5G enabling technologies, there is a clear gap to bridge towards 5G seamless application with a number of “vertical” sectors. Energy vertical represents undoubtedly one of the most significant “test cases” for 5G enabling technologies, due to the need of addressing a huge range of very diverse requirements to deal with across a variety of applications (stringent capacity for Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) versus latency for supervisory control and fault localization).

However, to effectively support energy utilities along their transition towards more decentralized renewable-oriented systems, several open issues still remain as to 5G networks management automation, security, resilience, scalability and portability.

To face these issues, NRG-5 will research and develop a novel 5G PPP-compliant software framework specifically tailored to the energy domain, which combines:

  • trusted, scalable and lock-in free plug ‘n’ play support for a variety of constrained devices
  • 5G devices’ abstractions to demonstrate mMTC ( Massive MTC), uMTC (Critical MTC) and xMBB (Massive broadband) communications coupled with partially distributed, trusted, end-to-end security and MCM (Machine Type Communications) to enable secure, scalable and energy efficient communications
  • extended Mobile Edge Computing (xMEC) micro-clouds to reduce backhaul load, increase the overall network capacity and reduce delays, while facilitating the deployment of generic MTC-related NFVs and utility-centric Virtual Network Functions (VNFs)
  • an extended 5G ETSI-MANO predictive analytics framework to support automated, dynamic, elastic VNF reconfiguration.

Extensive lab based validation will be complemented with real life demonstrations in two pilot sites (Italy, France) where proof-of-concept implementations for 5G-enabled electricity and gas distribution network optimized management will be offered, while offering support to 5G PPP phase III projects via demonstrating high replication potential towards other verticals.

Engineering is NRG-5 Project Coordinator, leading both the administrative and the technical management of the project, also representing the project at 5G PPP level, by means of participating in the 5G PPP Steering Board, Technology Board and two 5GPPP Work Groups.

Engineering will also lead the Dispatchable Demand Response as a Service, which is among the most demanding NRG-5 use cases, while contributes significantly to the AMI as a Service use case. Both services will be evaluated and demonstrated in real life pilots.

Last but not least, Engineering will lead the analysis and the study of the exploitation and sustainability plans for the project results after the project end.